By Anastasia: Talking about death is never a fun topic, but a necessary one to discuss. Being raised orthodox, I was given at a young age what I consider a healthy understanding of death.
Being told that death is another part of life and we don’t really die, we just leave our bodies was a comfort to this little 10 year old when I saw my classmate’s grandfather in the casket in the church. I appreciated the quiet prayers and the beautiful music honoring this man’s life. After the burial we all came back to the church and had a celebration of his life. People stood up and talked, cried and told stories of his 85 years on the planet. I was simply amazed at how this man’s life touches so many people!
Since then, I have been to more funerals than I would like to count and have been at the bedside of some beautiful people who have transitioned from this life to the next. The sacredness of seeing the life force leave the body is sacred. In my tradition the body is prepared with oils and herbs and then wrapped in a sacred garment to symbolize the sacredness of their life. Prayers are read for 3 days over this person who has been placed in the casket and on the 3rd day we begin the liturgy for burial.
I appreciate those 3 days to really let it sink in for a person whose life force has now left its earthly temple. This is the beginning of the grief. It’s shocking to see a person vital and alive and then gone out of sight and yet the body remains. No one and I mean no one that I have come in contact with has ever handled death like a champ! Death is final for some, and a relief for others especially if we have seen our loved ones suffer. We want them out of pain so we welcome the 2 edged sword of needing them here with us and letting them go. The process of letting go is different for each of us. This all depends on the clarity we have with our departed ones. Regret is a rough one to work through just as having angry words and then finding out the person has perished just hours later.
None of us really know the hour of our departure so it’s best to keep a clear and clean slate between all that you meet and all that you love for the day will come when will not see these people anymore and its never good to be stuck in wonder and the what if I had or i should have done…
I have raised children and I taught them that death is a part of life and I taught them to pray for a painless blameless end to this life when the time comes. This is a holy way of asking your deepest self to keep the record straight within and throughout your life. Asking for forgiveness from each other on a regular basis is important so your mind and body are clear and your third eye is clean. Humility is found in forgiveness and love is always conquered by these acts. In the end what matters most is peace.
Losing a loved one is difficult and time does heal the pain. We never forget but we can continue to live in the spirit of the loved ones’ shoes with acts of song and praise when these loved ones come to mind. I have a little altar for all of my loved ones who have passed. In the hispanic traditions we call this an OFRENDA. We celebrate the day of the dead in our home and I know this lessens our grief around the recent passing of our familia mothers. As the years roll one into another, I add other pictures of members of my tribe who have passed over to the after life. I am comforted when I see these photos. For I know that these people’s lives and stories lives on in me. If you are struggling with grief and need some support please do not hesitate to contact me.
Peace, Love and Light,